Blood Protein Increases Heart Risk in Women

Researchers have known for some time that high levels of the blood clotting factor fibrinogen have been linked to cardiovascular problems in men, but the link between fibrinogen and heart health in women had not be demonstrated in women until now.

A Swedish study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thombrosis, and Vascular Biology has confirmed researchers’ suspicion that fibrinogen is associated with increased risk for heart disease in women as well as men. A study of nearly 600 women, half of whom were hospitalized due to angina or heart attacks and half of whom had no history of heart problems, found that women with heart problems had plasma fibrinogen levels that were six times higher than those among women with healthy hearts. Even after researchers controlled for other risk factors, a 3-times greater risk of heart disease was still linked with fibrinogen.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute and Hospital in Stockholm also found that high fibrinogen levels are especially dangerous for younger women. The report concluded that plasma fibrinogen is associated with “excess risk of coronary heart disease in women, especially at a younger age. It seems likely that high plasma fibrinogen levels, whatever their origins, contribute substantially to the risk of coronary thrombotic events in women.”


Reuters - January 20, 1999

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